From the Los Angeles Register:
A Riverside schools committee has banned the book The Fault in Our Stars from its middle schools after a parent challenged the teen love story as inappropriate for that age group.
Following a parent’s similar complaint over a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel in Cucamonga School District, the Rancho Cucamonga Middle School library reopened to students Tuesday following a book audit launched by the controversy.
The Riverside Unified School District book reconsideration committee on Monday voted 6-1 to pull The Fault in Our Stars from library shelves at the Frank Augustus Miller Middle School. To make matters worse, the three copies that were pulled can not be sold or donated to another other schools.
The parent involved — Karen Krueger — went to the committee and asked teachers, parents, a principal, librarian, and instructional services specialist to pull the book from the library or set up rules to only allow checkout with parental consent.
“I just didn’t think it was appropriate for an 11-, 12-, 13-year-old to read, she said. I was really shocked it was in a middle school.”
The book will still be allowed at high school libraries in the district. It’s a story about teens who are dying of cancer and use curse words and have sex.
Arlington principal and committee member Betsh Schmechel made a ridiculous statement.
“The thing that kept hitting me like a tidal wave was these kids dealing with their own mortality, and how difficult that might be for an 11-year-old or 12-year-old reading this book, she said, later adding she thinks the review process worked. If you have a process in place like this, then you have a way for anyone to be heard.
What are your thoughts on this? I do not agree with banning books, ever. I’d wager than most of these folks did or will take their kids to see the movie, but reading….well, that just won’t do.
No, not okay.
This book particularly means something to me. This surprises people, but my daughter isn’t a reader. She’s hella intelligent and lacking in nothing, but she just doesn’t enjoy getting absorbed in books. However, on her trip to China this year, someone had this book on the plane. She read it. Reading this book made her a reader. She’s now read all of John Green’s books. His writing sparked something in her.
Riverside, you’re making a mistake.
The author, John Green, had an incredible response to the banning. From his Tumblr:
“I guess I am both happy and sad.
I am happy because apparently young people in Riverside, California will never witness or experience mortality since they won’t be reading my book, which is great for them.
But I am also sad because I was really hoping I would be able to introduce the idea that human beings die to the children of Riverside, California and thereby crush their dreams of immortality.”
It’s ironic that we recently observed Banned Book Week. Also ironic is one of the central themes of this book.